Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Gilbert AZ now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Gilbert AZ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gilbert AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Gilbert AZ. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Arizona trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Gilbert AZ homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Gilbert AZ residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Gilbert AZ school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Gilbert AZ business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gilbert AZ schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gilbert home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gilbert Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gilbert Arizona.